Karen’s Korner – Staging: The Buyer Perspective

Karen Keveryga, Calgary Realtor

Karen's Korner

Staging: The Buyer Perspective

The Definition of Staging is:  

The activity or practice of styling and furnishing a property for sale in such a way as to enhance its attractiveness to potential buyers.  
I have written in the past about staging and how it can benefit the Seller.  Now let’s look at it through the perspective of a buyer and how working with someone who can see past the tricks of the trade – can be a benefit!
When I show homes to buyers – sometimes up to 8 a day – they walk away and “label” the home to remember it.  
Here are just a couple of examples…

– The house with the red wall

– The house with the gecko light switches (true story)

– The house with the orange carpet

– The house with the cat towers

– The house with the wedding photos

– The house with the beloved dog ashes on the mantle (another true story)

– The house with the dead plants

– The house with too much furniture

– The house with nude portraits (true…)

– The house that smelled like cat pee   😢

Image by Loan - Unsplash
The seller’s goal should be to have buyers leave their homes – with nothing in their minds that could be identified in a negative way!  

Think of the last time you were in a showhome.  The furniture and decor never stands out…barely memorable…just help the buyer to see the features of the home itself. 

The Truth Is....Staging Removes Distractions!

When I help buyers – I still look at everything through my “stager” perspective.  Most staging keeps the focus on eye level – when touring the home.  It is our job to look up and down and PAST the furniture/decor/artwork.  To allow our clients to see the space accurately.  Please remember I do ALL (ok most!!) of the tricks below when I stage my own listings … so I truly know what I am looking for!

– Photos that show the window coverings closed – what is hiding behind?  The neighbour bathroom, brick wall – or a major road nearby?
– Kitchen void of anything on counters and above cupboards – is there truly enough counter space or cupboard space?  Make sure!
– Front or back entrance completely empty (no shoe racks or coat racks or hooks) – look for a closet nearby. Many times there is not one….  
– Curtains on wall beside windows – check behind – this is an easy staging tip to make windows look bigger! 
– Dining room or kitchen table only has 4 chairs – is there room in this space to add more?  Most people eventually want to entertain more than 2 people!
– Elaborate artwork – look around – are they trying to distract you from a water stain on the ceiling or crack in the wall. 
– Dinner settings on a kitchen table (one of my least favorite staging tricks!) – check everything….a home I just showed did this – and once we spent some extra time looking – there was no dishwasher in the kitchen. 
– White towels and white shower curtains (one of my favorite staging tricks!) – gives the impression of “clean”.  Check around the toilets – water leaking?  Look at fans above – are they dirty..are there water stains around them?  Pull shower curtain back…is there mildew or apparent mold?  The white distracts…makes people think that it is hotel-like = clean.
– New Paint…..look at the flooring. Maybe a way to get you to stay focused on eye level and not look down!
– New hardware on cupboards – can distract you from the age of the kitchen or even quality of cabinetry.  This is fine if the boxes are in good shape, but make sure you open them up and check inside.
– A decor item placed in an odd location?  A desk/cart/rug/plant – may be covering a scratch or stain on the floor, damaged wall etc.  Be diligent.
– Does furniture seem small to you?  Long standing staging trick is to use smaller furniture and allow the room to feel and look bigger.  Especially watch kids’ bedrooms.  Room staged as a nursery or office – make sure to measure to ensure it will fit the bed you want/need in the space!
– Lots of mirrors in the home?  Another long standing staging trick.  Makes home feel brighter, bigger.  Remember that when they’re gone, it won’t look quite as open and airy.
– Do photos seem too good?  Go see home in person.  Easy to use wide angle lens and angles to make home look bigger!
– Does everything seem “A Little Too Perfect“?  When staging, most people try to make their home look as clean and clutter-free as possible. This is usually a good thing, but don’t be fooled into thinking the people really live this way or that you will once you move in. Remember that all your stuff will have to go in there, so think about how the space will work in real life. Remember, just because it looks perfect, it doesn’t mean everything functions properly. Look carefully and be vigilant!

When working with buyers…

it is my goal to ensure they can imagine themselves living in the space – instead of feeling like a guest in someone else’s home.  Ensure you understand their needs – so you can help them understand how to use each room (regardless of how it is “shown” currently).  

The new world has created demand for office/learning/work out spaces…. with a creative eye – these can be created in areas like dining rooms, closets, garages and basements!
Stay focused – don’t get distracted by “tricks of the trade” – and you will find your dream home!

Compare listings